Giannis Antetokounmpo is the centerpiece and Khris Middleton was coming off a career game, but Jrue Holiday made the biggest plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in their pivotal Game 5 win.
Bouncing back from a brutal shooting performance in Game 4, Milwaukee's point guard led the way on both ends of the court in Saturday's 123-119 win over the Phoenix Suns that left the Bucks one win away from an NBA title.
Holiday shook off a four-for-20 night the previous time out to serve as the catalyst in the second quarter that broke the game open for Milwaukee, and his steal and pass in the final minute sealed a pivotal win.
The latter play was the talk of the game afterward, as team-mates marveled at Holiday's move to knock the ball away from Devin Booker and try an audacious alley-oop feed to Antetokounmpo with 13.5 seconds remaining to stretch a one-point Milwaukee lead to three.
JRUE HOLIDAY COMES UP HUGE.— NBA (@NBA) July 18, 2021
27 points, 13 assists, 3 steals for @Jrue_Holiday11 .. including his CLUTCH steal & lob late to put the @Bucks up 3-2 in the #NBAFinals ! #ThatsGame
Game 6: Tuesday, 9 PM ET, ABC pic.twitter.com/PmcV9G70Pk
"I mean, it's who he is. He's a winner," Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said of Holiday. "He makes winning plays, they're defense, they're offense, they're all over the court. He's a great team-mate off the court and he's a great team-mate on the court. ...
"That was an instinctual play. He saw time/score, he saw D-Book trying to go downhill on the spin, and he just had the ability to have hand-eye coordination, find the ball, rip it and then understand time/score on the other side.
"Come down, there's a lot of guys that would dribble it out and try to waste more time. But he knew the time, he knew the score and he knew a bucket would kind of be a backbreaker. He threw it to where there may only be one or two individuals in the world that could get it."
Antetokounmpo was one of those guys, flushing home the dunk and drawing a foul to stun the Phoenix crowd that had roared its approval as the Suns chipped away at a fourth-quarter deficit.
Holiday admitted afterward that his first instinct was to hold the ball, but he decided to loft it as high as he could after Antetokounmpo called for the ball.
"So at that point, I just threw it as high as I could and only where Giannis could go get it, and he went up there got it," Holiday said.
"I mean, they don't call him the Freak for nothing."
It was the last and most important of Holiday's game-high 13 assists, which along with his huge steal and 12-of-20 shooting night for 27 points made him perhaps the most important all-around contributor for the Bucks in Game 5.
While Holiday will take what happened Saturday over his shooting struggles the previous time out, he said his focus is solely on the bottom line.
"I feel like at the end of the day, whatever I can do to help my team is most important," he said. "I went 4-for-20 the game before and we still won and I know I can do other things to affect the game.
"I know when my shot is going and I'm trying to make plays for others, it is definitely an added bonus."